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Russia prevented civilians deaths in Syria, says Turkish minister

The Turkish finance minister calls Russia 'an important partner'

ANKARA, February 8. /TASS/. Turkish Minister of Finance and Treasury Berat Albayrak pointed out that specifically Russia had prevented the deaths of civilians in Syria through political means. The top official talked about it on Friday with the NTV channel live during a meeting with Turkish youth representatives.

"Russia is an important Turkish partner in various aspects, including trade and energy. Russia, especially after [the launch of] the Astana process became the country which prevented the deaths of civilians in Syria through political means at a time when the rest of the world kept silent. When the region was experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe, Russia was the country that took a strong stance [on this problem,]" he stressed.

By the late summer of 2015, various terrorist groups controlled about 70% of Syria’s territory. IS (Islamic State, a terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia - TASS) militants seized Raqqa, Palmyra, Manbij and a number of other strategically important communities, transport communications and oil and gas fields. The government forces failed to independently deal with the militants’ attack, nor did air strikes carried out by the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State have any effect on the terrorist groups. Given the situation, Syria’s authorities turned to Russia for help.

The success of Assad’s military attained with the support of the Russian Armed Forces made it possible to launch a process towards a political settlement and reconciliation of the opposing sides. On December 30, 2016, a ceasefire went into effect on Syria’s territory as a result of the agreements reached between the armed opposition and the Syrian government. In May 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a memorandum (which came into effect on May 6, 2017) in Astana to create security zones in Syria.